It has recently been discovered by a the University of Eastern Finland that eating large amounts of saturated fats in midlife correlated to a greater risk of dementia and a reduced cognitive function 14 years later.
This study points out how important it is to eat healthily in midlife which may prevent dementia later on. It was found that those who regularly consumed healthy foods at the average age of 50 had a nearly 90 per cent lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow- up study compared to those who did not eat healthfully.
Researchers used a healthy diet index based on eating a variety of foods. "Healthy" foods were defined as vegetables, berries/fruits, fish and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads. "Unhealthy" foods were defined as sausages, eggs, salty fish, sugary drinks, desserts/candy and saturated fats from milk products and spreads.
Eating large amounts of saturated fats was linked to decreased cognitive function and increased dementia risk. Those who eat a diet high in saturated fats and carry the epsilon 4 variant of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene are also at risk. This gene is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
"Even those who are genetically susceptible can at least delay the onset of the disease by favoring vegetable oils, oil-based spreads and fatty fish in their diet," says doctoral thesis author Margo Eskelinen, MSc. The thesis was based on the population-based Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study.
It is recommended by the Alzheimer's Association to increase the intake of "protective foods" to maintain a healthy brain. These include dark-skinned fruits and vegetables such as prunes, raisins, red grapes, plums, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, kale, onion, red bell pepper, beets and eggplant. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans are also recommended, as are cold-water fish such as trout, salmon, tuna, mackerel and halibut. Increasing intake of vitamins such as C, E, folate and B12 is also considered helpful. I would also recommend taking at least a tablespoon of coconut oil a day as this has also been found to prevent dementia and is beneficial to those who ate suffering from dementia.
Study results were published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders and Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !